Bramall Lane new boy Sean McGinty has backed Sheffield United’s young guns to shine - two years after helping break their hearts.
For McGinty, the 19-year-old who was unveiled as one of four new United players last Friday, is a former Manchester United trainee, and was a member of the Red Devils squad which lifted the FA Youth Cup in 2011 - beating his current employers in the final.
Manchester United, containing the likes of Paul Pogba and Ravel Morrison, triumphed 6-3 on aggregate against their South Yorkshire namesakes, who fielded the likes of Harry Maguire, George Long and Callum McFadzean.
“I remember the game well,” McGinty told the Telegraph.
“I played left-back in both legs, and the first leg was at Bramall Lane in front of almost 30,000 fans.
“Not many of the players here have ever experienced the stadium at its fullest - I think it was one of the biggest attendances at the stadium for some time - and all the fans were behind the home side, which showed the passion there is at this club.
“That was one of the factors in me choosing United, to be honest.
“If we can see more of that passion this season, I’m sure we can push for promotion.”
Of the United side that started the first leg at Bramall Lane, eight players have since played for the first team and Maguire, Long and McFadzean, in particular, will start the season as key players under new boss David Weir.
“I walked in on my first day at United and recognised quite a few players from that day,” McGinty smiled.
“We had a bit of a laugh about it; it was a big occasion for us all. None of us had ever played in front of that many people as there was at Bramall Lane, and none of us had ever played at Old Trafford before either.
“I don’t remember too much of George, to be honest, but Harry is a great player.
“He’s had a lot of experience now at such a young age, and he’s been capped by the England Under 21s, too, so it’ll be good to play alongside him.
“I remember a lot about Callum, though! He scored a great goal against us in the first leg at Bramall Lane.
“There’s a lot of young talent there, hopefully I can establish myself as a part of that and help the side go as far as possible.”
McGinty had loan spells at Oxford United, Carlisle and Tranmere Rovers last season, before he became the last player to be released during Sir Alex Ferguson’s legendary reign at Old Trafford.
“It was about a month after my release when I heard about Sheffield United’s interest,” McGinty, a Republic of Ireland U21 international, said.
“There were a few other clubs interested in me, but this was by far the biggest.
“I’d just left Manchester United, probably the biggest club in the world, which wasn’t ideal.
“And there were a few thoughts in the back of my mind, that no-one was going to come in for me.
“But I got my head down, trained hard, didn’t have a holiday and got the deal done with United.
“I couldn’t be happier; a lot of people have shown a lot of faith in me. Now it’s up to me to go and do them proud.”
McGinty, who was expected to get his first taste of action in last night’s pre-season friendly against Greenock Morton in Scotland, is also looking forward to learning from Weir - a man he describes as a “born leader”.
“We had a sit down on the first day back and he introduced himself to all the lads,” McGinty revealed.
“He’s got a lot of experience and he’s captained every club he’s been at, which tells you a lot.
“He’s a great man to have around, and I’m sure I can learn a lot from him. He was a centre half and I can play there, so to have a defender as a manager is priceless really.”
Another of Weir’s new signings, Febian Brandy, is also looking forward to the Scotland trip.
“I expect it to be cold,” the former Walsall man smiled.
“Maybe a bit of snow, even though it is July! But seriously, it’ll be good for us new lads to get away with the team and learn everyone’s personalities. It’ll make it easier to bond on the field.”